Thanksgiving: A Perfect Family, On Demand

As Thanksgiving and the holidays begin to roll around, some of us may find ourselves intertwined in awkward family dynamics. Hats off, silverware in place, smiles on—all to paint a picture of a perfect family, on demand. It’s enough stress to make your hair fall out.

If your family situation is a little messier than you would like, here is a reminder of what to expect this Thanksgiving season, So that at least you can prepare your minds that much more...

The Awkward Tension:

When two people in a room have tensions, you can feel it in the air, and it isn’t a good feeling. On this note, there is great truth to the term “fake it till you make it”. Whether the tension is between you and another individual or your two distant uncles, just brush it aside for a few hours. Make it a new moment.

It’s About the Food, Honestly:

A family gathering usually means the involvement of a lot of good food, so don’t let awkward family dynamics get in the way of you enjoying that. Food makes everything better!


Whether the good kind or the bad, feeling people's eyes through your skin is always uncomfortable. This goes for those who may be bringing someone else along (a significant other, a new friend, your roommate, etc.). But there’s not much you can do to avoid this. So let it be and when in doubt, just remember the three C’s: Be cool, calm and classy.

Questions About Your Major:

“So, what does one do with a philosophy major?” your distant aunt asks slyly, and all of a sudden you are in the hot seat. Once you have the words “college student” as a personal descriptor, don’t think you can easily get away from it (especially not with family!). So just be a little prepared ahead of time. Unless you actually do have a solid plan that you are happy to explain to some family members you rarely see, it’s good to think of the shortest possible answer to these types of anxiety-inducing questions.

The Food Belly:

It’s inevitable. Embrace it just for the night. Wear loose pants (that’s a no-brainer!). You will feel a little bit uncomfortable by the end of the night, so remember that the Thanksgiving table is not the place for skinny jeans.

Black *Thursday Night*!:

My sisters and I have always broken off into a small group and hit up target soon after eating. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s fun and a little bit less intense than Black Friday. Not to mention that it’s a good way to get away from the family after dinner (and when they may be getting a little too comfortable!)

Thank Your Host:

Basic manners here. It takes a lot of work and courage to do something like hosting a family dinner. If someone in your family is solely responsible for most of the cooking, make sure to thank them personally, and offer to help clean up.

Exercise a Little the Day After:

If you’re like me, you won’t feel too good the day after eating so much, so just remember to try to do something nice for your body! Even if it’s just a short walk down the block that feels more heavy and uncomfortable than usual, do it anyway. Your body will thank you.

We may not be able to choose who our family is, but at the end of the day, they are still our family. However you celebrate this season, remember to just  keep a positive outlook and put your best foot forward; all will be well.